Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico comic icon Gomez Bolanos 'Chespirito' dies at 85

Mexican stamps from 2006 showing two of Gomez Bolanos's popular characters Image copyright AP
Image caption Mexican stamps from 2006. El Chapulin Colorado inspired The Simpson's Bumblebee Man

One of Latin America's most beloved comic actors, Roberto Gomez Bolanos, has died at the age of 85.

Known as Chespirito (Little Shakespeare), the Mexican's work delighted children over four decades.

His characters included El Chapulin Colorado, the inspiration behind The Simpsons' Bumblebee Man.

Gomez Bolanos, who died at home in the resort of Cancun, appeared in several movies and plays. His live shows played to packed out stadiums.

His television work was exported to 90 countries, translated into dozens of languages, and still shows today.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted that the country had lost an "icon whose work transcended generations and borders".

Chespirito himself had some 6.6 million Twitter followers.

His nickname stemmed from his short stature.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Chespirito in 2008. He said he always "tried to be as concise as possible"

In 2011 he said: "Nicknames are the most essential in life, more valuable than names."

One of Gomez Bolanos's biggest hits was the show El Chavo del Ocho, about a naive child who hides in a barrel.

The Chapulin Colorado, or Red Grasshopper, character was a comic superhero whose red and yellow outfit and hood which bore antennae inspired The Simpsons' Bumblebee Man.

The superhero's catchphrases included: "You didn't count on my cleverness" and "All the good people, follow me."

Gomez Bolanos said in 2005: "I always tried to be as concise as possible, all to try and reach everyone, but especially the simple people, those who needed to be reached more than anyone else."

Gomez Bolanos is survived by his second wife, Florinda Meza, six children from his first marriage and 12 grandchildren.

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